The San Jose Sharks led the way in selections for the Canadian Olympic team with four players being named to the prestigious club. Those included were Dan Boyle, Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley and Joe Thornton.
Each was deserving in their own way by being a leader among Canadian players in some fashion. Thornton is the top scorer in the entire NHL with 54 points, while Heatley and Marleau are first and second among goal scoring leaders for the country with 25 and 23 respectively.
Boyle is fourth among the NHL leaders in points scored by defensemen with 31.
There was pure excitement from each of the players.
“I’m very excited to be on Team Canada,” said Boyle.
“It’s a huge honor,” said Thornton.
There was just as much pride in the fact that all four will be going together.
“That’s going to make the experience that much better, being there with friends,” said Marleau. “There will be a little more confidence being on the ice and going to the rink.”
“It’s really exciting to be part of it and for the four of us to be going,” said Heatley. “We all wanted to be there.”
“It’s great we have four going for Team Canada,” said Thornton. “The Sharks will be in full force in Vancouver. It’s going to be electric.”
The players all found out about 8 a.m. PST as they received personal notices.
“I got a phone call about an hour before from Ken Holland,” said Marleau. “I’ve been smiling ever since.”
“I got a call about eight from Doug Armstrong,” said Heatley.
“I woke up this morning and had a message saying I was going to get to play this time,” said Boyle, referencing 2006 when he only practiced as part of the taxi squad. “It’s a once in a lifetime.”
The only tough part for Marleau is he lost the call, but at least he had already heard the good news.
“My cell dropped the call, I don’t have good cell reception at home,” said Marleau.
Then it was easy to notify the families.
“The folks got a call,” said Marleau. “I called close to the announcement, it’s not like they were going to announce it to the whole world. They were really excited. I could see their faces through the phone. I’m pretty sure they’ll be there.”
“I called my parents and brother when I woke up,” said Boyle.
Thornton and Heatley’s parents happened to be in San Jose for the announcement.
“I think he’s pretty excited, he was up pretty early,” said Heatley.
Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson actually had the fathers of Heatley and Thornton with him when the announcements were made on television regarding the entire team.
“They were chosen based on merit and it’s nice to see them rewarded,” said Wilson. “We are very proud of them and all the Olympians.”
While the questions will now switch to can Canada win the gold, at least this ends the questions of whether a player thinks they will make the team.
BIG GAME It takes something as big as four players from one team being chosen for Team Canada to take away from the thunder of tonight’s game against Washington.
“It’s a big game right before the New Year and we want to be on top of our game right off the bat,” said Marleau.
The contest will be at 7 p.m. PST on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.